No longer Gray.

Surreal?

That’s probably the least of things around here. It really comes down to people, who as Jerry Seinfeld once said, are the worst.

Even though all St. Patrick’s Day parades were cancelled. And, even though the governor put a limitation on crowd sizes, some people just had to gather on Magazine and Bourbon Streets to get drunk and celebrate the holiday. Mostly, they got drunk.

The police broke up the gathering on Magazine Street, while some of them were shouting about their right to assemble peacefully, forgetting that the rule concerns protests. The police did not disperse the crowds on Bourbon Street. I suspect locally owned club and bar owners’ money came into play.

Of course, there are all the airport disruption issues that were created by the Federal Government when they imposed virus tests for incoming passengers without thinking the process through.

I saw pictures some of the 13 approved airports. Crowds and crowds and crowds. In most cases, it took 6 hours to retrieve luggage and at least four hours to make it to customs and immigration. The travelers were packed about six inches apart. Forget about the six feet of separation.

Sheesh.

When did my country become a banana republic? Never mind, I know. When did people become so selfish and show such disregard for other people’s welfare? When did people panic at every little comment? In most of New Orleans not only did toilet paper and hand sanitizer become rare, so did chicken. WTF? Chicken? Who started the rumor that drove people to buy all the chicken in Greater New Orleans?

Nothing good is going to come from any of this.

The picture. That’s really what you want to know about, isn’t it? This is the gray picture. I liked the picture well enough that I set out to make it prettier in post production. Oh yeah. I posted it to notches unknown. There’s a little gray, but mostly it’s orange. Much brighter. Much prettier.

Stay safe. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich. And, for God’s sake, stay out of Wal-Mart.


Adding something colorful.

Minimalist.

Bare trees of winter with a little help. I’ve been photographing bare trees for a long while now. At a certain point they all start looking the same. I suppose if you work in an area long enough you come to point where everything looks about the same.

That’s one reason that I have sort of retired from making pictures at cultural events in New Orleans. There are only so many second lines and Mardi Gras Indian events you can work. Even they start to repeat themselves.

So.

I asked myself how I could make this silhouetted picture look like something else. I experimented with this technique a little last year. I didn’t go far enough. This time I did. I added the reds, yellows and oranges of autumn. If you think about it, that makes sense. We are still cruising around the autumn season, but we are three days away from the winter equinox and the shortest day of the year. I combined two seasons into one picture.

I’d like to thank a friend of mine for pushing me even though she didn’t know it. I saw some of her work on Instagram that looked like something I would do. If I’ve influenced her in any way, I’m flattered and humbled. That kind of thing used to bother me until I realized that’s why I’m here. She was also the one who pushed me into my one word koan — learning — for the year. The year is almost over. The koan worked.

I suppose I need one for next year.

The picture. I’ll tell you the basics. Keep in mind that I have a huge archive of pictures that I can use to blend into other pictures. I use Snapseed for most of this work.

  1. Photograph a subject that you can made into a silhouette. This one happened to have bare trees with a light blue sky with white puffy clouds as a background. On its own the picture looked fine.
  2. Edit the picture in your normal way. Then lighten the background until there isn’t one. The trees should be black. Use either the brightness slider or the ambience slider, shifting them until the black fades to sort of a golden brown.
  3. Look for a picture that you can mask over the trees. In my case I picked something from last month when we finally had weather that was fall-like. Use the double exposure tool to select the foreground image. Layer it and then use the pull down to decide which version looks best. Use the slider to distribute the overlay the way that you like it.
  4. Finish it as you normally would. I adjust color, ambience and brightness.

That’s it. You’re done. And, so am I.